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Old 07-17-2018, 10:44 AM   #331
glatt
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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After getting back to camp in the early afternoon, we convinced the boys we should take a hike. The Black Hills of SD are really gorgeous. The elevation was an adjustment though. I was huffing and puffing hiking up those hills. I live at sea level and this is 7,000 feet.
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There was a lot of down time in that Medicine Mountain camp, and the boys played a lot of cards and Frisbee. It was nice to see them all getting along so well with one another. Some of them did mountain biking for two days, and some of them did rock climbing for two days. I didn’t get any pictures of that because I was sitting in my camp chair, reading.
We spent 3 full days and 4 nights at Medicine Mountain, and then it was time to start making our way to Montana.
First stop was Wyoming and Devil’s Tower. My son got this pic as we were getting close.
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We scrambled up the fallen rock pile to the base of the cliff and hung out up there for a while. Came down and hiked the easy paved trail around the base.
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We saw a fair number of rock climbers on the thing. My sister had climbed up there a few years ago with her partner and sent me a picture from the top so it was cool to see other climbers doing it.
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:47 AM   #332
glatt
 
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The place we were going has many names. It’s MOHAB, or Montana Outdoor High Adventure Base, or the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch, or the Boone and Crocket Club, or the Rasmuson Wildlife Conservation Center. A little confusing, but it’s all those things. See, Teddy Roosevelt founded this club, called the Boone and Crocket Club. The club was responsible for lobbying congress to establish among other things, Yellowstone National Park, and both the National Park Service and the National Forest Service. In recent years they bought this huge ranch near the Bob Marshall Wilderness area to study methods of ranching being able to co-exist next to a wildlife so that the natural resources can be conserved. They built this educational center that doubles as a retreat for wealthy benefactors, and they opened it up to the Boy Scouts in the summers to run a high adventure program called MOHAB.
What all that means is that the facility is awesome to cater to those benefactors. It’s the nicest Boy Scout facility I have ever seen. The front door actually has a sign asking everyone to take their shoes off when they enter. The floors are amazing finished hardwood, and the building is really nice.
Exterior:
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And the lounge chairs by the picture windows looking out at the mountains.
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Our first full day there, there was lots of preparation. Route planning, and dehydrated backpacking meal preparation and packaging. They took us on a steady paced shake down hike with our full packs. It was standard fare for our group, because we had been doing a lot of training, but the other crew there from Georgia was complaining the entire hike. Fortunately, we were going in different directions on our treks.
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The next day we drove 2 hours on mostly gravel roads to get to the Benchmark trail head along the Continental Divide Trail. The boys wanted to see two features along this one segment of the CDT, so we wound up on the CDT for most of our adventure. This is the view from the trail bridge a few hundred meters from the trail head.
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:49 AM   #333
glatt
 
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We hiked a short 7 or so miles the first day and found a nice spot along the river to camp.
My son took this picture of me digging some clean socks out of my drybag. Our shelters were just personal sized painters drop cloths on the ground to use as ground cloths, and a lightweight tarp stretched overhead. One shelter had 5 adults, one had 5 boys, and one had 4 boys.
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Hiking such a short distance that day, we had time to fish. One of the boys caught this big cutthroat trout. It was the only fish we caught on the trip, and with all our $80 fishing licenses, this works out to about a $500 fish.
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The first night was cold. It got down to 30 degrees, and I had trouble sleeping. Woke to frost covering everything. But it warmed up the next day and we started hiking.
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This is my son. I liked the wildflowers.
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Last edited by glatt; 07-20-2018 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:56 AM   #334
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It happened to be Independence Day, and at around noon, I looked up to see a bird circling overhead in a thermal. A Bald Eagle! It was the only one we saw on our trip. The boys broke in to the National Anthem.
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I liked it that we didn’t have any established campsites. You just looked for a nice place to stop, and there was almost always a ring of stones already there that you could use for a fire. This was our second evening. We saw several deer in this part of the valley.
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The next day we had a significant distance to cover. We wanted to leave our camp set up and put only the essentials in our pack because we planned to continue hiking deeper in the wilderness to a feature called the Chinese Wall. We would come back, break down camp and load back up again with everything, and then hike another 6 miles or so back to the base of a mountain we planned to hike the next day. This section of the trail had a lot of stream crossings that were deep enough to go over my water proof boots and fill them with water. So many crossings that there wasn’t time to be taking my boots off for each one. My feet were soaking wet all day.
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Then we hit snow on the trail. The snow wasn’t so bad in the morning. Firm enough to walk on, but in the afternoon, it had warmed up enough that the snow softened, and we broke through with each step and post holed a lot, slowing us down. This is the Chinese Wall. It’s about 1,000 feet tall and 10 miles long. A spectacular feature.
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Last edited by glatt; 07-20-2018 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:00 AM   #335
glatt
 
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Me at the Chinese Wall
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Next morning, I woke around 5:30 with nature calling. I got up and let everyone sleep until 7:45. They were all tired from the day before, but we did have a mountain to climb. I think this is a cool shot of the shelters. The shelters weighed only 1-2 pounds each and fit 5 people, so they were ultra lightweight. Too bad we have too many ticks to use them in Virginia.
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We learned that this site was just across the stream from a wolf den, because we heard them howling close by each morning between 6am and 7am. Pretty spooky, but we all had bear spray. The valley is a narrow one and even though we couldn’t see them through the trees, they couldn’t have been more than about a quarter mile away. Maye a tenth. Our goal this day is Prairie Reef, the tallest mountain in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The trailhead was easy to miss because a tree had fallen over it and water running under the tree made it look like just a small stream crossing instead of a trail. Be we started up.
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It got steeper and rockier as we climbed.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:03 AM   #336
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The map showed a stream crossing about halfway up the mountain, but we had passed a sign that announced there was no water, and the stream turned out to be dry. We had started with 2 liters of drinking water each, but it was a hot day and the climb was strenuous. I was worried we would run out of water and have to turn around before reaching the top. We agreed to turn around when we reached half a liter of water each. And then I spotted this mud puddle where water was seeping out of the hillside very slowly. A little below the mud puddle was an extremely slow trickle of water down a steep hillside. It took about an hour, but we filled everyone’s water bottles and treated the water inside with a few extra Aqua Mira drops. This deer poop filled mud puddle saved the day, literally.
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We are almost at the summit of Prairie Reef. I was proud of the boys for making it. This day was actually one of the more difficult hikes I have done in my life. The heat and lack of water and steep terrain, and scores of downed trees to climb over or crawl under really made it a challenge. It was only about 10 miles but we had 3,500’ of elevation gain.
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That’s me pointing out to the other dad where we had been the day before. He’s a good guy but had a bad sense of direction.
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And it was very windy up on the summit, but on the porch of this closed lookout station I was out of the breeze and still had an amazing view.
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Last edited by glatt; 07-17-2018 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:08 AM   #337
glatt
 
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This is a horrible quality video at points because it's so windy it was blowing me around. But it gives you an idea.


And here, I am out of the wind.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:10 AM   #338
glatt
 
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On the way back down, we found a better source of water where a big snow pile was slowly meting and running across the trail. I dug a little hole where we could put our water bottles to fill them up. Thank god for Aqua Mira drops. Makes this nasty water safe to drink.
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The next day we hiked out. It was around 10 miles and the group knocked it out quickly. Everyone was ready for a shower. The views the entire way out were spectacular though.
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Getting back to the Benchmark trailhead and parking lot. It’s still 2 hours of gravel roads to get back to civilization.
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We drove for 2 days to get back to Denver. Saw over 20 deer/antelope in fields along the side of the highway over those two days. We had an afternoon to kill in Denver, but it was supposed to be over 100 degrees, so I wanted to do something inside. My bright idea was to do the Coors brewery tour because the reviews are great and I went there as a kid. But on further reflection I figured parents would be miffed at me. So we searched around and saw that Celestial Seasonings also gives tours of their factory. It was actually pretty cool, but photography is prohibited. The smells in that factory are unbelievable. especially when they open the sealed mint room and let you step inside. My eyes watered the mint was so strong. You exit through the gift shop, and the fact that they made me wear a beard net means that I had a legit beard.
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Old 07-17-2018, 12:10 PM   #339
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Kool pix, what are you going to do next?
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Old 07-17-2018, 12:27 PM   #340
glatt
 
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Focus on kicking ass in my new job.
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Old 07-17-2018, 01:21 PM   #341
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You salvaged a fantastic trip from the ashes of the Philmont tragedy. Kudos to you and your direction challenged buddy.
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Old 07-17-2018, 01:44 PM   #342
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Most excellent! This will be a lifetime memory for the lads.
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Old 07-17-2018, 02:50 PM   #343
glatt
 
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There was a lot of driving. Almost 2,500 miles. The last night before we returned the rental vans the following morning, I was driving the crew back to the hotel from an amusement park in Denver, and noticed a green light next to the radio was lit up. It said EcoBoost, or something like that. Suddenly everything made sense.

For the entire trip, I had been following the other dad who had an identical minivan as me, and he kept needing to stop for gas when I still had a quarter tank left. He also liked to pass slow moving horse trailers and such on the long straight roads out west. The speed limit would be 80, and the trailer would be going 75, and when I would try to do the same maneuver, my van just didn't have any oompf. I had a few white knuckle passing incidents where I was going 90 and the car coming the other direction was going 85 or so, and that half mile of open road between us was shrinking very fast as I tried to get past the trailer. It was all the EcoBoost button. I was amazed at how much gas it saved me, but those passing maneuvers were not fun.

Wish I had noticed that button sooner. What was it doing under the radio way out of the way?
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Old 07-17-2018, 03:30 PM   #344
xoxoxoBruce
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It's amazing how fast that gap closes at a combined speed of 175 miles per hour (281.6 Kph).
I remember a guy at a gas station in Utah telling me to watch out for black cows on the road at night.
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Old 07-17-2018, 04:30 PM   #345
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Oh, you ain't lived until you've left 100 feet of skidmark in front of a black bear in the road at night.

Or a moose.
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